4. Multistep Arguments
In everyday thinking, as well as in science and other academic
subjects, we often find chains of inferences: A premise gives us
evidence for a certain conclusion, which in turn supports a
further conclusion, and so on.
Or conversely, we look for a premise to back up our position, and
then look for a further premise to back up the first premise, and
If someone opposes gun control on the grounds that
it violates the right of self-defense, we might ask: Why assume
that people have such a right? The person might answer: Because
people have a right to life, and therefore, have a right to defend
This argument has two steps, and proposition 2 serves both as
the conclusion of the first step and as a premise of the second.
An argument can have any number of premises, any number of steps.